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Federal judge sentences escapee from Sunnyside jail to 10 years prison time

YAKIMA - A federal judge last Thursday sentenced Aaron Lopez Garcia of Yakima to 10 years in prison.

Garcia in 2006 was awaiting sentencing while in the Sunnyside City Jail for a felony weapons charge when he escaped with three other inmates on Nov. 29, 2006.

He escaped with Ernesto Gallegos, Jose Moreno-Ruiz and Rodolfo Cortez-Orozco, two of whom were captured within days of the escape.

The U.S. Marshal Service joined the hunt for Garcia and Gallegos in December 2006 and later captured Gallegos.

Garcia remained a fugitive, traveling to several states before leaving the country, according to U.S. Marshal Jeff Marty.

Garcia is a known member of the Norteno gang and he was considered highly dangerous.

As a result, a $5,000 reward was offered for information leading to his capture.

Garcia was featured on the television show "America's Most Wanted" two times and was named to the U.S. Marshal's top 15 Most Wanted list.

"The America's Most Wanted feature is what eventually led to his capture," said Marty.

He said Garcia was captured in Mexico nearly three years after he escaped the Sunnyside City Jail.

Last Thursday a federal judge sentenced Garcia to 120 months in prison for the felony possession of a weapon charge and 60 months for the escape. The sentences are to run concurrently.

Marty said Garcia is currently being held at the Yakima County Jail pending his designation to a federal prison.

"He will go to a high security prison," said Marty.

In addition to prison time, Garcia was ordered to pay the city of Sunnyside $2,385 in restitution for damage to the jail facilities as a result of the escape.

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